3

Workforce for the 21st Century: The Federal Perspective

Arthur Bienenstock

Office of Science and Technology Policy

As I looked through the program, it appeared that you are appropriately focusing on individual and organizational aspects of the participation of women in the chemical sciences, although it is likely that the issues you are considering apply to all of the physical sciences and engineering. Those issues are real and occupied my attention for an extended period. I was Stanford's first faculty affirmative action officer, supervised a significant number of women graduate students, and even altered Stanford's policy on the admission of women many years ago.

Today, however, I would like to take a completely different tack. That is, I will focus on the entire national scientific, technical, and engineering (ST&E) workforce from the perspective of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council, as represented in the report Ensuring a Strong U.S. Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Workforce in the 21st Century. That report was prepared by the Interagency Working Group established to assess the ST&E workforce and develop recommendations on how to ensure its strength; it was co-chaired by Martha Krebs (director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science) and me.

Let me first talk about the ST&E workforce issues that are most evident in the news. First of all, for the technical fields and, actually, for almost all who are well educated, there is a very low unemployment rate—an unemployment rate below that which many economists thought feasible with normal job turnover. In addition, our newspapers frequently publish statements that the unavailability of workers is limiting economic growth in one way or another. Consistent with both, there are constant calls for increases in H-1B visa quotas.

These three phenomena speak to a shortage in the United States of scientifically and technically trained workers, leading us at OSTP to ask whether these phenomena are short- or long-term trends. We cannot, of course, tell the future, but it is our obligation to make an educated guess. In doing that, the first thing we asked is, What has happened to the ST&E workforce historically? We were fortunate to have a very good intern, James Buxbaum, in the office to address that question. In particular, we asked him to determine what happened historically to the fraction of the workforce involved broadly in science and technology, aggregating all job classifications from technicians to Ph.D. scientists. His conclusion



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE 3 Workforce for the 21st Century: The Federal Perspective Arthur Bienenstock Office of Science and Technology Policy As I looked through the program, it appeared that you are appropriately focusing on individual and organizational aspects of the participation of women in the chemical sciences, although it is likely that the issues you are considering apply to all of the physical sciences and engineering. Those issues are real and occupied my attention for an extended period. I was Stanford's first faculty affirmative action officer, supervised a significant number of women graduate students, and even altered Stanford's policy on the admission of women many years ago. Today, however, I would like to take a completely different tack. That is, I will focus on the entire national scientific, technical, and engineering (ST&E) workforce from the perspective of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council, as represented in the report Ensuring a Strong U.S. Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Workforce in the 21st Century. That report was prepared by the Interagency Working Group established to assess the ST&E workforce and develop recommendations on how to ensure its strength; it was co-chaired by Martha Krebs (director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science) and me. Let me first talk about the ST&E workforce issues that are most evident in the news. First of all, for the technical fields and, actually, for almost all who are well educated, there is a very low unemployment rate—an unemployment rate below that which many economists thought feasible with normal job turnover. In addition, our newspapers frequently publish statements that the unavailability of workers is limiting economic growth in one way or another. Consistent with both, there are constant calls for increases in H-1B visa quotas. These three phenomena speak to a shortage in the United States of scientifically and technically trained workers, leading us at OSTP to ask whether these phenomena are short- or long-term trends. We cannot, of course, tell the future, but it is our obligation to make an educated guess. In doing that, the first thing we asked is, What has happened to the ST&E workforce historically? We were fortunate to have a very good intern, James Buxbaum, in the office to address that question. In particular, we asked him to determine what happened historically to the fraction of the workforce involved broadly in science and technology, aggregating all job classifications from technicians to Ph.D. scientists. His conclusion

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE was that the fraction of the workforce involved in science, technology, and engineering grew from roughly 11 percent in 1962 to 15 percent in 1995. That conclusion is consistent with the observations of those of us who lived through that period. Our everyday life has changed markedly through increases in the fruits of technology that have emerged from science. For example, I find it wonderful to be able to fly around the world at a rate that was impossible when I was young. There couldn 't be that many airplanes up in the sky 40 years ago because the computers weren't available, nor were the jets. Then there is music. I can remember constructing my first hi-fi system in the mid-1950s. Now you see people with CD players strapped to their waists and getting higher fidelity through the headphones than anything most of us could obtain in that period. That is the consequence of the laser, the transistor, the integrated circuit, and all sorts of sophisticated digital processes. I cannot help but observe, as well, people roller-skating on the beautiful rollerblades that have resulted from the development of plastics that were unknown when I was a child—we used metal-wheeled roller skates that were far less satisfactory. Clearly, the world has changed technologically and the fraction of our workforce involved in science and technology has increased. The next, obvious question is, Do we expect that trend to continue? Our sense is yes. One indication comes from Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of where we will need more people over the next decade. Almost all of the fastest-growing positions are related to information technology or health care. Those projections imply that it is likely that the fraction of the workforce devoted to ST&E will increase. There is another argument that can be made. We know from all of the discussion of Social Security that our population is aging and that the ratio of workers to retired people is decreasing. That is why we worry about the future solvency of Social Security. But we can consider the broader implications of that change and conclude that if we don't have increases in productivity per worker, the standard of living will decline for everyone. The stock market will drop in value, the dollar will drop in value relative to other currencies, or there will be inflation. Something will happen to cause the average standard of living to decline if we cannot increase productivity per worker. How do you increase productivity per worker? It's primarily through science and technology. You often hear the President, the Vice President, and many economists say that science and technology have accounted for over one-half of the increase in productivity per worker over the last half century. So we are going to need more scientists, engineers, and technicians, and everyone has a stake in that happening—even people like me who are going to retire in a few years—if we want to see our standard of living maintained, not to speak of the benefits to health, to the environment, and to national security. With that in mind, we at OSTP have looked at other demographic projections. Figure 3.1 shows the fraction of the population that is in the age group 18 to 64 years, which we use as a surrogate for the workforce, projected over the next 50 years by the Census Bureau. The different curves represent projections for various subgroups of the population. The top two curves, representing the fraction of the population that is non-Hispanic white male and female, are practically superimposed, as you would expect. Both show a steady decline. What the graph does not show is that the group that has traditionally provided most of our ST&E workforce—non-Hispanic white males—is projected to decline in absolute as well as relative size after 2010. Increasing markedly is the Hispanic portion of the population. Increasingly somewhat less markedly is the Asian-American portion of the population and increasing somewhat is the African-American portion of the population. Why is there cause for concern? As I said, traditionally, and particularly in the fields that interest you today, non-Hispanic white males have comprised the dominant fraction of the ST&E workforce. Their fraction of the population is expected to decrease while groups that have participated at lower rates in the ST&E workforce are projected to become a significantly greater portion of the population.

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE FIGURE 3.1 Bureau of the Census population projections for five ethnic and gender groups, ages 18 to 64 years. SOURCE: Day, Jennifer Cheeseman, Population Projections of the United States by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1995 to 2050, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, pp. 25-1130, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. To get some sense of the differences in participation of the various groups, consider the statistics on ST&E bachelor's degrees in 1995. In particular, consider the ratio of the number of 1995 ST&E bachelor's degrees earned by members of each population subgroup to the number of 22-years-olds in that group, expressed as percentages. That percentage is 13 for non-Hispanic white males, 11.8 for non-Hispanic white women, and 21.6 for Asians. But for the African-Americans and the Hispanics who will make up close to one-half of the workforce by the middle of this century, the numbers are 5.7 and 4.8, respectively. Those rates of ST&E bachelor's degree acquisition are significantly less than half those of the non-Hispanic whites. For women there are two trends. First of all, there have been significant changes since I was a student, in that women now earn almost half of the bachelor's degrees in this broad area. That fraction declines when advanced degrees are considered. In addition, detailed analysis indicates that women are greater participants in the social sciences and biological sciences, while their relative participation is much smaller (about 20 percent) in mathematics, computer science, and engineering. Yet these latter fields contribute heavily to economic growth, to improving the environment, and to the maintenance of national security and our citizens' health. Now, the interagency working group I referred to earlier asked the following question: What will happen if the nation does see the demographic changes projected by the Census Bureau and the fraction of young people earning degrees in science, technology, and engineering remains what it is now for each of the ethnic and gender groups that I have discussed here? Our calculation indicates that there would be a steady decline in the fraction of 22-year-olds receiving bachelor's degrees in ST&E (see Figure 3.2). The calculation indicates that the increase in the fraction of Asian-American 22-year-olds is not sufficient to compensate for the decline in the fraction of white males or the low rate of acquisition of ST&E bachelor's degrees by African-Americans or

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE FIGURE 3.2 Calculated fraction of 22-year-olds receiving bachelor 's degrees in science and engineering if award rates of various groups remain constant. SOURCE: Day, Jennifer Cheeseman, Population Projections of the United States by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1995 to 2050, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, pp. 25-1130, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.; National Science Foundation, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 1998, NSF 99-338, Arlington, Va., 1999, Table 5-22. Hispanics in maintaining the total rate of ST&E bachelor's degree awards. A decline in that rate would, in turn, be likely to lead to a decline in the fraction of the workforce in ST&E over a period when the nation will probably need a significant increase. Moreover, it seems likely that Asian-Americans will not continue to enter the ST&E workforce at their present rate, since they are likely to branch into other professions. We can already see that happening in the Asian-American community. Its members are writing novels and plays, becoming lawyers, and competing quite successfully internationally as figure skaters. They are doing all the other things that you expect of an educated middle- and upper-middle-class community that is integrated into our society. So we have reason to be concerned as a nation. This calculation indicates, for example, that the requests each year for increases in H-1B visa quotas are likely to continue into the indefinite future if we don 't turn this situation around. On the other hand, the countries from which we are getting immigrants clearly see the value of the people that they are losing to the United States. As a consequence, there are efforts in almost every technologically advanced Asian country to establish first-rate graduate schools and to establish positions within the country that will keep their best and brightest in the country rather than have them emigrate.

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE FIGURE 3.3 Earned B.S./B.A. degrees in science, technology and engineering fields, by race/ethnicity, 1977 to 1995 (U.S. citizens and permanent residents). SOURCE: for 1977 to 1991, National Science Foundation, Science and Engineering Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity: 1977-1991, NSF 94-306, Tables 1, 2, and 3. For 1993 to 1997, National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Studies, Science and Engineering Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients: 1989-97, NSF 00-311 (Author, Susan T. Hill), NSF, Arlington, Va., 2000, Tables 4, 5, 6, and 31. What conclusion do we draw from these considerations? The first and strongest conclusion is that we must increase the participation rates of all ethnic and gender groups in science, technology, and engineering. The administration's drive to improve science and mathematics education is one aspect of this effort. There are many other things that can be done. But while the general society debates the merits of affirmative action on the basis of apparently conflicting goals for justice toward individuals, we should all be asking the broader questions: What kind of country do we want to have 20 or 30 years from now? Do we want our country to be increasingly dependent on immigration to meet its workforce needs, or do we want our citizens participating more actively in some of the most interesting, productive, and rewarding ventures in the society? I think when you ask it that way, you see that you really want to encourage all Americans to participate in science, technology, and engineering. At the same time, it is important that this country remain attractive for immigration. To ensure broader participation of our own citizens in science, technology, and engineering, while keeping the nation attractive for immigration, it is important to keep our institutions of higher education strong. Thus, the administration has been reviewing the government-university research partnership and has been working with the universities to improve a relationship that has degraded over the past decade. Most of you probably feel, from your personal observations, that the nation has made significant progress in broadening participation in the ST&E workforce. That is illustrated vividly in Figure 3.3, which shows the number of ST&E bachelor's degrees earned by members of various ethnic groups over the past 20 years up to 1997, by year. Over that period, the number of non-Hispanic white males earning bachelor's degrees declined markedly, with the decline driven primarily by demographics. Neverthe-

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE less, the total number of degrees awarded to United States citizens or permanent residents has increased. That increase is due to three roughly equal factors: the increase in women earning bachelor's degrees, the increase in Asian-Americans earning bachelor's degrees, and the increase in African-Americans, Hispanics, and other underrepresented minorities earning bachelor's degrees. These three roughly equal effects more than counterbalance the decline in the number of non-Hispanic white male awardees. Had those increases not occurred, it is likely that the White House and Congress would have faced even greater demands for increases in the H-1B visa quotas. Unfortunately, that progress is threatened (see Figure 3.4). Enrollments of African-Americans and Hispanics at the major universities that educate many of our scientists and engineers are declining. We have good reason to be concerned that the recent court decisions and referenda, including Proposition 209 in my home state, California, will turn back the clock. I really worry about that, and I think we all have to ask what kind of United States we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in. Will it be one in which people from all races participate in science, technology, and engineering, or will we become like some developing countries that are divided markedly into an upper class and an upper middle class that are primarily white and Asian-American, and lower classes that contain the other ethnic groups? I know my choice. I have seen what it is like in those countries, and I certainly don't want my grandchildren growing up in that type of society. Now, let me return to the main themes of this meeting. We will not see increases in participation of women in the ST&E workforce unless we continue to address the questions that are the focus of this FIGURE 3.4 Entry into science and engineering graduate work declines in 1997 (first-year enrollments at surveyed universities). SOURCE: National Science Foundation/Division of Science Resource Studies, Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: Fall 1997, NSF 99-325, NSF, Arlington, Va., Tables 27, 28, and 29.

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE meeting's agenda. Part of the solution to our nation's ST&E workforce needs involves changes in our organizations, so that they can accommodate and encourage women in the professions in which they are sorely underrepresented—physics, chemistry, mathematics, and engineering. This nation needs greater participation of women in these fields. The issues that you are addressing are central to attracting them. DISCUSSION Geraldine L. Richmond, University of Oregon: Artie, thank you for your comments. Your last comment was one that hit a nerve; you said to this group, Unless you work on these issues you will not have a solution. Arthur Bienenstock: That is a very good point. All of us have to work on these issues. You are absolutely right, and you are right to call me on it. Victoria Friedensen, National Academy of Engineering: Dr. Bienenstock, I know that we are approaching an election year, and I know that your report has certainly been making a splash—at least here inside the Beltway. I know you don't like to look into the future too hard, but do you believe that the next Administration will carry on your work? Will the recommendations made in the report be carried forward and address implementing solutions to the problem rather than just restating the issues that contribute to the problem? Arthur Bienenstock: I am a political appointee and therefore can only speak for one of the two candidates. I would anticipate in the area where I have knowledge that this issue will continue to be a big one. Let me say that I think there was not a tendency to focus on these issues of the relationship of race and gender to the science and technology workforce until recently, and you must recognize that even in putting together the working group we were reacting to the referenda and the judicial decisions more than we were thinking what to do next, but I can assure you it has become a big issue in the White House. Two or three weeks ago, the President had an event where 25 companies each pledged the expenditure of $1 million each year for a decade—so, $10 million each—for increasing the participation of minorities and women in science and technology. Many of those companies told me they will contribute much more and indeed talked about some $6 or $7 million, and now we have other companies that want to join in and make the pledge, too. The science, technology, and engineering workforce has become an issue within the One America Office that deals with race. Now there are close relationships between the two offices, and I have every reason to believe that the candidate with whom I am familiar would continue that. I just cannot speak for the other one because I don't know him as well. Kimberly Gray, Northwestern University: I have two comments. First, you put up a very troubling picture, and yet it seems to me that we don't see the same sort of concern if we look at budgetary priorities and the amount we invest in our total budget each year in science and technology and research. Even though NSF has requested a very large budget increase I don't think it is going to be successful partly because of the caps—I guess budget caps imposed by Congress. My second concern, though, is that what we then see may be mirrored in universities. Northwestern is a university that is sometimes regarded as fiscally conservative, a university that regards science and technology as kind of expensive. It is much more economically feasible to educate someone in the

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE humanities or even social science than it is in science and technology. We see, at least at the university level, this notion that it is just so expensive to educate scientists and engineers. Could you comment about what we might expect with respect to budget? Arthur Bienenstock: Again, I can speak most authoritatively about the President's budget and the President's goals in presenting the budget. He outlined those in a speech at Caltech; let me read one section of that speech (I just happen to have it with me): “This budget makes research at our nation's universities a top priority, with an increase in funding of more than $1 billion. University-based research provides the kind of fundamental insights that are the most important building blocks of any new technology or treatment. It also helps produce the next generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. We are going to give university-based research a major lift.” The budget is consistent with that. It has a 17 percent increase for the National Science Foundation, and if you look at the budgets of the individual sectors—mathematical and physical sciences, social sciences, biological sciences—you find that there are increases between 15 and 20 percent. There is an initiative within that budget to do research on the participation of women and minorities in science and technology. There is the commitment there. There is a corresponding increase of 13 percent, as I recall, for the Department of Energy 's Office of Science. What is required next is the will to use public funds to achieve those gains. The big question is, How will you disburse the funds that have been acquired through balancing the budget and that now form a surplus? Will you disburse them to be expended by the general populace, or will you use them for investment in the society? That issue divides the parties, and we will fight hard to achieve that budget. If you believe in it you ought to be fighting hard. There are some who say that such investments are not a proper government function, but I don't think there is anyone in this room who believes that such investments are not a government function—and I have to remind you that it has been known for 3000 years that governments should use periods of plenty to save for periods when things are rough. It appears in the Old Testament in the story about Joseph. Remember, Joseph is called to interpret the pharoah's dream and urges the pharoah to set aside the grain during 7 years of plenty to deal with the tough years that are to follow. The equivalent of that in our society is investing in research and investing in people. I hope the Congress will see that and come through, but you have got to help. W. Sue Shafer, University of California at San Francisco: In this judicial climate, how can the major universities, state or private, reverse the trends that you talk about—of losing the participation of underrepresented minorities at their institutions? Arthur Bienenstock: Let me talk first of all about Stanford, where I was chair of the Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee in the period after Martin Luther King's death. We really looked at what criteria you should use for admissions, and there is no way that we would use the simplistic numerical criteria that are used by so many state institutions. You miss out on really promising students if you do that. I think that the state schools, and certainly the private ones, which have a great deal of freedom, should be looking at the structure of their undergraduate classes and not be using simplistic criteria like GPAs and SATs for admission. If you read that book by Bok and Bowen1 you can see that the elite institutions are using more complex criteria, and it really pays off in the nature of the class that you get. I can talk about students 1   William G. Bowen and Derek Bok. 1998. The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE that we got at Stanford that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise. That is one thing. Second is restricting the private schools. Gerhard Caspar, as president of Stanford, said that there is no way we are turning back on affirmative action. We see it as a societal necessity. You are all citizens. Many of these things have been accomplished with referenda, but referenda can go both ways. You can state what you believe in and work for what you believe in. We in the government are looking to private-public partnerships. It was no accident that we went out into industry, because we ourselves are limited in what we can do, but working with the private sector we can do a lot more, and we know that the high-tech industry shares our concerns about the workforce and is prepared to make efforts to change things. So, there are many ways of doing it, but never forget that you are citizens—and citizens of your universities, too—and that you have a variety of options. Robert L. Lichter, Camilla & Henry Dreyfus Foundation: First of all, thank you for taking a leadership role in this broad issue and being so articulate about it. I hope you will continue to carry that message. I am looking forward to seeing what the report itself says. At the same time, I am still a little bit troubled because there have been reports on this and related issues. We have seen them pile up. I get about one a week on one or another topic, as I am sure most people here do, too. Sometimes the reports almost appear as ends in themselves. The potential for this is one thing that troubles me. The second thing is the language used to discuss this issue: the workforce argument. It certainly is true that science and technology drive and make a difference in our contemporary standard of living, but science and technology don't exist in a vacuum. It is people who really make that difference. What I rarely see in any of the reports that focus only on the notion of the workforce (which many private corporations say they can deal with better than universities can) is the notion of leadership. What I don't see discussed are efforts to make available the massive amounts of money called for by individuals and corporations—with the attention being on the money itself—for developing leadership. I don't see the question asked, not of how much money should be made available but how that money should be used to develop leadership. I would like to hear more about this. Arthur Bienenstock: Okay, let me talk a little bit about things that we didn't make a fuss about. First of all, let me say something that is surprising, given my elitist university background. I have become quite respectful of the role of community colleges in our educational system and also enamored of programs run by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education that seek to provide curricula and training in technical fields where industry needs workers. They tend to be cooperative programs in which industry works with the community college system to improve curricula. There are also programs that require the curriculum to allow for transfer to a 4-year college. So a student at the end has the option of going into employment for, say, one of the semiconductor processing companies in the Southwest, or, alternatively, going on to a 4-year school. We increased funding in the budget for those programs; we will see if they last. And we increased funding for a variety of programs of that sort. There wasn't a big fuss about it; it was just done. That was the internal leadership; then there was the calling together of larger industries, and we will continue to do that—to discuss what we can do together in government and university partnerships, at least through this Administration. But I think it is an endeavor where there have to be a lot of leaders, because there is a lot to be done when you think about it. I mean we need church groups and social groups encouraging young people to go into science and technology. It has got to spread down into

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE the society as a whole. There are lots of different levels of leadership that are required, and Bob is right to draw attention to that. Elizabeth C. Theil, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute: I would like to return to Professor Richmond's comment in the very beginning, because even if we accept this problem as our problem as women, we are a small number. We could certainly have a bigger impact if we could convince more men that it was their problem as well. What is the single most effective thing you think we could do in that regard? Arthur Bienenstock: I always think in terms of structural reform for women. Let me say something about my experience as a thesis adviser on materials science and applied physics. Roughly half my Ph.D. students over the past two decades have been women. One of the constant lunchtime discussion topics is, How do I deal with bringing up children and having a career? We have made progress in helping families to deal with some of the issues, like child care centers, but I think we have to think as a society that desires the contributions that come in both ways— the parenthood and the professional contributions—and look for structural changes. Some universities have adjusted, changed tenure clocks by stopping a tenure clock for child care for both the father and the mother, but I must say in the end I never had satisfactory answers for my students. I would bring in women I knew who already had successful careers, and they discussed how they do it. I think we have got to look at the issue of what structural changes could be made so that a family can be both a parenting family and a working family with both parents committed to very demanding careers. There are many careers where you work nine to five and then you leave. You can fit children into that, but it is much harder when you want to be a chemist or a physicist, because the intellectual commitment goes on all the time. I am sure you all know it, and I think we have got to think of societal changes. You are going to be watching your own institutions. The things that you demand in terms of justice are things that will in the long run benefit all of us. It is those things, such as helping women to manage those dual roles, that count. On the other hand, I recently discovered a shocking thing. I just turned 65, and my students threw a big party for me, which included my ex-students coming from around the world to attend. I realized that not a single woman who has gotten a Ph.D. with me has had a child, and it was a striking observation. I think that is an issue we really have to explore, and it bothers me very, very much that women's organizations that are very concerned with the role of women in science and engineering don't speak more about this issue from many different points of view. There is the obvious one—the father playing a greater role in parenting—but there have been a variety of solutions that families have achieved that have allowed women to pursue their roles in science and engineering successfully. I think our young women should hear from the women themselves and not from me. Geraldine V. Cox, Eurotech, Ltd.: Actually this was a point I was going to make, that right now our values are changing in society. A survey that was just released said the generation now coming out of college values family more than career, and they are choosing careers that allow them more family time. That is both male and female, but I think there is also a loss of the traditional work ethic, and I have talked to a number of professors who say, “I am really disappointed with the students I am getting now. If they work 30 hours a week, they consider me being overbearing. ” I remember back when I was a graduate student we used to pull all-nighters just to get the work done. That level of commitment to career has a negative value in today's society. We are not creating

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE a sense of having to work to achieve. We are a society of instant gratification: “If I cannot have it right away, I don't really want to work for it.” I think there is something at the core of our societal values that really impinges on what we are dealing with here. Career and family are both important, and I agree with you we have to work more on that, but I also think that there is a greater societal drifting away from the old work ethic that used to be part of this society that made it great. Arthur Bienenstock: I have to say that I didn't notice that. I left Stanford to come to Washington 21/2 years ago and my students are still working like crazy. Geraldine Cox: I am not a professor, but I have talked to a lot of professors and they were complaining about the fact that the students aren't putting in the effort. Arthur Bienenstock: I have heard that complaint. It hasn't been consistent with my own observation. Janet G. Osteryoung: Did Socrates complain about that? Arthur Bienenstock: Yes. Christine S. Grant, North Carolina State University: First of all I would like to applaud the efforts to get industry involved with minorities and women in terms of supporting them with this million-dollar initiative. I was a product of General Electric 's program to increase minority engineering graduates (PIMEG) that started when I was in junior high and continued through high school. We actually got to visit engineering plants and universities. I also participated in summer programs to introduce minorities to engineering (MITE) at different universities (Northeastern and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst), spending 2 or 3 weeks on campus. I loved those programs, obviously, but let me tell you what is happening at the universities now. Maybe the following activities have trickled down from what is happening in the California [state university] system. I award scholarships for my department, and I am on the Scholarship Committee for the College of Engineering. The university has said that we can no longer award scholarships that have anything to do with race. I don't know if this is coming for women also, but PIMEG and the MITE programs are becoming more diluted and some of them are going away or becoming shortened. I would encourage the company initiatives mentioned by the speaker to increase the participation of these groups in science and engineering. I think it is very important for the companies to realize that they can't just give money to a college of engineering and think that it is going to support our underrepresented undergraduate students anymore. They are going to have to find more creative ways to get that funding to the students through organizations such as the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers, with scholarships through those programs that can impact our students directly. Other than that, our students are never going to see the impact of that money that is being given by the industry folks. Arthur Bienenstock: I should say that about 7 or 8 months ago in the White House, we very quietly had a meeting of the relevant people from industry— human resource officers, people dealing with these issues—where we just sat around the table and went over what is working and isn't working. We intend to do that more and more just because of this sort of situation, and we are facing it ourselves. We had to review every program that we had to see whether it was constitutional and would hold up under

OCR for page 38
Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE review. So, we are going through that, and that is what has me more worried. I mean things could just get worse, and we have got to fight back. That is why we did the report, to help fight back. Nancy H. Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Thank you very much for your comment about women and children and the need to restructure the job to address the problem of the greater family responsibilities that so often fall to women. At MIT we did a study that shed light on the underrepresentation of women in science and found two major reasons that we believe may contribute to their departure from the profession. One is this subtle gender bias, and the other is the family issue. Young women faculty told us that until the latter problem is addressed there will never be a large number of women on our faculty in science and engineering. This problem is beginning to impact young men as well, although still to a much lesser degree. When I think about this problem of balancing family and work, it seems to me that the cost of fixing it may be substantial. I am wondering whether you have any suggestions on how we might go about obtaining the needed funds. How does one make people understand that we may need to put day care in every laboratory that is built, for example, and make day care an item in the budget of a grant? That we need to have housing near the campus so that people do not have to spend hours a day commuting to work and picking up their children? I think when we women left the home we forgot to note that it probably costs about $100,000 or even $150,000 a year to replace a college graduate in the home, since many of these women were working 2 or 3 shifts per day performing diverse and important jobs for the family. Arthur Bienenstock: That is a very good point, and I don't have all the answers. That is why I would like to see more discussion of it. I can tell you what we did in the places where I have experience. Certainly there was the establishment of day care centers, but you find day care centers are pretty expensive, and what the university did was give the land and the buildings away; nevertheless, staffing is expensive and we have to accept the fact that for a period, family income is going to go into child care centers. I mentioned delays in the tenure clock. We also introduced faculty leave programs, not for this purpose but for the purpose of giving extra time to faculty members who had been very heavily involved in things. What we found was that there were inordinate demands on our minority and women faculty. Not only were there the normal demands of teaching, research, and committees, but there were so few of them that they were being asked to provide guidance for women and women 's groups and all that sort of thing. So what we did was extend the sabbatical period beyond normal for people who faced unusual demands, to give them more time for their own research quietly. All sorts of little things like that help. They don't solve the problem, but every little thing helps a bit. Those are the things we tried, and still try to maintain. I don't have all the answers, but these are things that I think should be the subject of discussion.